Winds of change : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Winds of change |
|McInerney, Waibel leave athletic departments for teaching positions|
|by Kristin Sharp|
For the second time in six years, Oswego School District has vacant athletic director offices to fill in both area high schools.
Steve McInerney and Laura Waibel resigned from their positions at Oswego and Oswego East, respectively, and will be transferred to new positions within the district.
The school district board approved the changes in job status as part of a personnel report Monday evening.
Oswego East High School Principal, Dr. Jeff Craig, said the position at Oswego East has been posted for nearly two weeks and first-round interviews began Monday from a pool of more than 50 candidates.
"We have had a tremendous response," Craig said. "We should be looking at a second and subsequent final round Thursday and Friday. We have got some summer programs that are getting ready to get off the ground and we need someone to guide that moving forward."
With the school district looking to hire two athletic directors simultaneously, Craig looked to Oswego East parents as well as coaches to help with the hiring process.
"We are going to make a fit for Oswego East. We have some parents involved, we have some coaches involved and some staff members and administration so we make sure it's a good fit," Craig said. "It's a pretty global position. You want that person to be able to interact with all the stakeholders. Not that our culture is so much different, but there may be different needs as far as the coaching staff. We're going to try to match it to Oswego East's needs."
Waibel, who was hired in July 2006 as the first female athletic director in the school district's history, will remain on the Oswego East staff for the 2012-13 school year as the Science Department Chair and science teacher.
She previously held the position as the Math and Science Department Chair at OEHS prior to becoming the athletic director. Waibel has worked in District 308 for 18 years, teaching math and physics while coaching at Oswego High School before joining the Oswego East staff in 2004 when the building opened.
"Laura has obviously been involved in - as we've been in a period of growth and reached almost 2,300 kids a few years ago - bringing on some new programs, experiencing a lot of firsts with state championships, state placewinners, state qualifiers and conference championships; a lot of things we had not experienced in our initial years," Craig said.
"The first AD was here the first two years and she took it and ran and grew it. And we've got some more growth to go, but I think that'll be incumbent on the next AD to move us into the third phase. Athletic director is an unbelievably time-consuming obligation and pretty thankless ... Laura has done an admirable job in putting some really solid staff members in place and bringing structure to our athletic department. We appreciate her efforts, that's for sure."
Oswego Principal Mike Wayne expects the athletic director job opening to be posted by the end of this week and allow candidates to apply for up to 10 days, with the expectation of selecting a candidate in May.
"We're going to post it both internally and externally," Wayne said. "I don't know what our internal pool will be, but I would expect us to have some quality candidates from within the building and/or the district that would potentially be interested in the role. I think our goal would be to identify a candidate by May 1, if possible.
"We definitely want to have some time for transition. We're fortunate enough to have the luxury of our previous athletic director here in the main office in Craig Watson, who we think will be very instrumental in helping with the transition as well."
Watson served as the athletic director for 12 years before becoming assistant principal at OHS.
With both district high schools in search of an athletic director, it is essential for Wayne to find the best candidate for his staff.
"Each high school - and I'm not just talking about Oswego and East - has its own culture and you're going to be looking for somebody who fits the culture of your building and the culture of your athletic program," Wayne explained.
McInerney will be assigned to the OHS physical education department as a driver's education teacher for the 2012-13 school year.
"He and I talked and he's looking forward to spending more time with his family. He has three kids," Wayne said. "There's a lot of significant time demands on that role and he's looking forward to having some additional quality time with his family."
McInerney joined the OHS staff in July 2006 after working as an assistant athletic director at St. Charles North where he was also the Dean of Students and previously worked in driver's education/health.
He was also involved in the birth of House Bill 200, which requires student-athletes at all levels in Illinois receive clearance from a doctor before returning to play after suffering a concussion. The legislation was signed into law this past July.
"We've had a number of new hires in coaches, he's been instrumental in a number of upgrades to our athletic facilities, bleachers, fields and upgrades to our signage throughout the building and outside," Wayne said. "He and the athletic department, from my standpoint, have done a really good job hosting a number of regional, sectional and super-sectional tournaments. The attention to detail for those tournaments is so critical.
"The athletic department, under his leadership, has initiated the new Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards, and he's also been very involved with Springfield and the new concussion policy for athletes. That's a real passion for him. A big part of that is his background in athletic training," Wayne continued.
OEHS Coaching Openings
Craig will also look to replace two OEHS head coaching positions with the resignations of Jim Vera (baseball) and Jason Buckley (boys' basketball). Vera made the announcement to his team on March 14 while Buckley spoke with his coaching staff and players following the team banquet on March 21.
Buckley has been coaching the boys' basketball program since its inaugural varsity season in 2005-06, and in seven seasons compiled a 121-74 record and a 2010 Class 4A regional championship.
"I thought it was time, with two young kids playing sports. If it was just the winter, it wouldn't be an issue for me, but it's the fall, the spring and the summer that go along with it that I don't think many people outside of the profession realize," Buckley explained. "Most of your day, especially in the winter, is consumed by basketball. That got to be pretty frustrating when you're teaching a class and every free minute you're working something, whether it's a scouting report or a practice plan. It was time.
"My daughter definitely didn't want me to give it up just yet. That made me really stop to think if it was really what I wanted to do. So many people get out of it because their families are pressuring them. Mine was the opposite. Mine wanted me to stay in it, but they understand. More free time for the family is going to be good for everybody," Buckley continued.
Buckley will remain as the Oswego East head golf coach for the 2012-13 school year.
"I don't like the way I feel during the basketball season. It's all self-imposed stress," Buckley said. "I absolutely love basketball and I've been passionate about it, but I'm relieving some of myself of that passion and transferring it to golf. As a player, I'm truly passionate about golf. I will certainly be much more level-headed and much more relaxed."